RIP, Earl Palmer [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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Mr Peabody
09-24-2008, 04:22 PM
Earl Palmer, the famed drummer of New Orleans and Los Angeles, died Friday (September 19) at his Los Angeles home after a lengthy
illness. He was 84. Born in New Orleans in 1924, his backbeat was
first heard in Cosimo Matassa's studio there on tunes by Fats Domino
("Walkin' To New Orleans"), Little Richard ("Lucille"), Lloyd Price
("Lawdy Miss Clawdy") and Smiley Lewis ("I Hear You Knockin'"). He
also arranged Shirley & Lee's "Let The Good Times Roll". In 1957, he
moved to Los Angeles to be an Artist & Repetoire man for Aladdin
Records. His first task was arranging Thurston Harris' "Little Bitty
Pretty One". But he quickly became -- along with Hal Blaine -- the
most sought-after drummer in the city. Songs he worked on included
"La Bamba" by Ritchie Valens, Eddie Cochran's "Summertime Blues", Jan
& Dean's "Surf City", "Cupid" from Sam Cooke, Ketty Lester's "Love
Letters", "The Lonely Bull" with Herb Alpert, "Unchained Melody" by
the Righteous Brothers and hundreds of others. He also can be heard
playing on the TV themes for "77 Sunset Strip", "I Dream Of Jeannie",
"The Brady Bunch" and "M*A*S*H", among others. His drumming can also
be heard on virtually all of the Warner Brothers Looney Tunes"
cartoons of the '60s. Earl himself appeared in the 1961 movie, "The

"When you're working in the studios, you're playing every genre of
music," Hal Blaine, his friend and another prolific session drummer,
said in an interview Saturday. "You might be playing classical music
in the morning and hard rock in the afternoon and straight jazz at
night. ... That's where they separate the men from the boys. If
you're going to be a studio musician, it's the top of the ladder. You
can't go any higher than that in the music business."

In 1999 he was the subject of a biography, Backbeat, written by Tony

A year later, Mr. Palmer and Mr. Blaine were among the first class of
previously unsung sidemen inducted into a new category of the Rock
and Roll Hall of Fame, which cited Mr. Palmer's "solid stickwork and
feverish backbeat for laying the foundation for Rock-N-Roll drumming.

I wish this knowledge was mine but I'm just passing it along in Earl's memory.

Luvin Da Blues
09-24-2008, 04:29 PM
I for one am appreciative of this little tidbit of knowledge. Although I haven't heard of him till now, I do know his work and have a great respect for top shelf studio musicians.